The season of Lent has been interpreted in many ways through the centuries, with much of the interpretation depending on the predominant theology of the day. At root, the word "Lent" in English comes the Old English "lencte" which refers to the spring season. The spring season was used in preparation for planting crops, and Lent is used as a season to prepare for the Feast of Christ's resurrection at Easter.
Much of the cultural baggage that comes to us about Lent is the concept of Giving UP, and that grates with our North American culture. Many of the things we were told to give up were simple things, given up solely for the sake of giving something up. Some of the concepts came as disciplines of obedience (heard as submission) because it was good for us.
As a Benedictine, I would like to point you to the Benedictine concept of Obedience. The root of that word is from the Latin verb "to listen". To obey is to listen. However, it is generally a listening that wants a response from us. Over the centuries, that response led to the notion of submission rather than listen and response.
Just as farmers and gardeners need to listen and watch the signs of the changing season in order to prepare the ground, so we need to listen to prepare our hearts and minds for the mysteries of God's work among us. The chorus of an old John Prine tune comes to mind:
"Blow up your TV. throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try and find Jesus on your own"
It does capture some of the simple disciplines of quieting the mind to listen for God's word, but I do seriously question the aspect of trying to find Jesus on our own, since one of the ways in which we hear God is through each other.
I encourage you all to find ways to simplify your life and time this spring in order to listen to God. That can be through personal prayer, meditation, and reading, or through group activities like bible studies, centering prayer, and the arts. In simplifying some aspects of life, you may find the time to attend to other aspects of life. In that sense, it is more important to take on new disciplines than to give up something (unless the giving up is what creates room for the new discipline).
We will have different ways of listening in Lent at our Sunday worship as well. I am inviting you to listen to the Readings at the service, rather than reading along. Our culture has become very print and visually oriented, so this may be a real exercise for you. We will have a printed copy of the readings available for those who really need them. They will be separate from the bulletin we receive. (There may not be quite enough if everyone wants one though, so you may have to share!). The psalm will be read by the lector, along with the other readings, though we will have a response to say periodically while it is being read.
Pax et Bonum,
Did You Know?
- Mar. 4th, 4pm: Book Study continues in Jane's Hall. The group meets every Monday, except the 4th Monday of each month. (3/4, 3/11, 3/18)
-Mar. 5th, 5-7pm: Shrove Tuesday Pancake Meal. Stop by Jane's Hall during this time to enjoy fellowship and pancakes. Friends and family welcome!
-Mar. 6th, 12pm and 6pm: Ash Wednesday Liturgy and Holy Eucharist.
-Mar. 9th, 9am- Lector's meeting in the church.
-Mar. 10th: Tuna Sunday. Bring canned tuna to church in support of the food bank.
-Mar. 13th, 10:30am: The Sewing/Social group will get together in Jane's Hall. Bring your sewing, knitting or just come and visit. We now have a person who will teach us to crochet (if you are interested and she supplies yarn and hooks). If you have any questions call Mary Mahoney at 256-8120
-Mar. 13th, 5:30pm: Lenten Soup Supper in Jane's Hall. Sign-up sheets available at the back of the church.
-Mar. 20th, 5:30pm: Lenten Soup Supper in Jane's Hall.
-Mar. 24th, 12:30pm: Vestry meeting in Jane's Hall.
-Mar. 27th, 5:30pm: Lenten Soup Supper in Jane's Hall.
-The Centering Prayer group meets each Wednesday at 9:30-10:30am in Jane's Hall. Everyone is welcome to join this meditative practice. If you have questions about Centering Prayer, contact Martha Robbins, 296-7842.
Lenten Suppers and Teaching
We will continue with a Trinity tradition of having a Soup Supper on Wednesday evenings in Lent. They will begin at 5.30 pm, followed by a teaching series and discussion.
The basis for the teaching was my own response to the book being used by the Monday night book study group Beyond Resistance: The institutional church meets the postmodern world. Regardless of whether you join the study group, the book does offer some good challenges to what the church is now, and what it might/can/ought to become. It has many good features for consideration. One of the deficits, however, was recognition of what might have been good over the years and what might have been lost.
I have developed the complex title How did we get from there to here and why it might matter? Or: A simple overview of theology (what we think we understand about God) through history. A mouthful, but I think that as we look toward the future it is helpful to better understand the past and make appropriate sense of it, rather than changing it drastically for the wrong reasons.
The author of Beyond Resistance essentially sees church history as having a reformation after 1500 years, and being ripe for another reformation about now. I agree that we are in the midst of a new reformation, but that there have been more reforms in the church than credited, and they have been roughly every 500 years (though not exactly). I hope to explore some of what we valued in each age, along with some of the pitfalls in each age that led to reformation. As we look to the future, we can perhaps be better equipped to understand how we are facing some of the same situations again and again.
I hope that rather than being dry history or academic discourse on the nature of God, we can better understand how we have come to believe what we belief at this point in our lives. I look forward to seeing you there.
A soup sign-up sheet for each Wed. is available at the back of the church.
by Martha Robbins
A passage I read this morning struck me with some force. Written by a canon for pastoral care, Sarah Butler, it describes a pattern she can fall into, wherein "(I've) found myself talking to God in prayer as I would instruct an efficient secretary to organize my calendar, carry out my delegated requests, and act as a buffer for those annoying interruptions which thwart my ministry and my life." This is a reversal of the job descriptions of herself and God, and the result can be a sense of off-centeredness. She continues, "I notice this most as a lack of joy and soon find myself in need of a moment of remembrance, a call to wonder, to see that it is God who initiates and we who respond."
She then cites the practice that meets that need. "The rhythms of Centering Prayer---from knowing to unknowing, from doing to being, from information to formation, from context to contemplation---renew the wonder and awe that keep us ever mindful of God at the center of our lives."
If this strikes you as important, and you're not already engaged in a Centering Prayer practice, I would encourage you to give it a try.
We have a Centering Prayer group that meets in Jane's Hall each Wednesday at 9:30am. It is open to everyone.
What is Church Membership in the Episcopal Church?
One of the great things about the Episcopal Church in general, and Trinity Church in particular, is that we welcome folks to join our worship regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey. ALL ARE WELCOME! It is our intent to welcome people in all stages of their spiritual journey and to walk together; helping one another in recognizing God's presence in our individual and collective lives.
At the same time, the church is part of an institution that has legal implications and guidelines on membership. Membership is not required to join us for our worship, but it is a consideration for our structure and governance.
These days, all that is required for membership in a congregation of the Episcopal Church is to ask that your baptism be recorded in the membership records of the congregation. Anyone who has been baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit can have their baptism recorded in our church records, if you want to be a member. Baptism is always a baptism into the WHOLE body of Christ, regardless of where it was held.
We have census forms in the church that you can fill out to record your baptism. Now, part of the information on the forms helps us stay updated on contact information for the mailing list, the email list, and the phone tree, but it also has information for the parish register about date and place of birth and date and place of baptism.
Recording your baptism covers the basics of church membership. But many of you will ask about confirmation as well. Since many churches have infant or children's baptisms (with promises made by parents and sponsors), confirmation becomes a rite that allows individuals to explore their faith and to make their own commitment of faith, as a teenager or adult. While baptism is into Christ, the confirmation is considered adult membership in a particular denomination. Recording your baptism at Trinity will make you a member of the Trinity congregation, but you are still invited to explore the aspect of confirming your faith within the Episcopal Church through confirmation in the presence of our bishop.
Everyone is encouraged to fill out the census forms for themselves and those of their household. This will help us update our contact information. Those who wish to be members can check the appropriate box.
Those who want to explore their faith more deeply, possibly leading to confirmation, are invited to be in touch with the office to express interest in starting some Inquirers classes. This may be a simple personal exploration of your own faith journey and how the church fits into that. Or it may lead to confirmation, or reception from another denomination, or a re-affirmation of faith. As we get an idea of interest, we can make plans to schedule these classes.
-March 16 & 17, there will be a free shuttle bus running throughout the day to Dandelion Days in Jackson. See flyer in Jane's Hall for schedule.
-Dementia/Alzheimer's Support Group meets the second Monday of each month (5:30-7pm) at Gold Quartz Inn in Sutter Creek- for information contact Susan at 257-1377. They also meet the third Wednesday of each month (2-3:30pm) at Amador Residential Care in Jackson- for information contact Sheri at 223-4444.
-Dad & me: for dads, uncles, grandpas, etc. and children 0-5 years old. This is a chance for a free, fun outing together (like visiting a fire station). "Dad & me" events are held the 4th Saturday every month. Call 257-1092 to reserve a spot in the next event. Space is limited.
-Free tax preparation by IRS Certified Volunteers. To get more information on how to qualify or to make an appointment, call 209-268-6232 or goto atcaa.org/tax.
-A free, 6-session program, sponsored by NAMI Amador called Family-to-Family is open for registration. This program provides information and strategies for people caring for those with mental illness. Sessions will take place Saturdays, 9:30am-2:30pm from March 23-April 27. You must register to attend. Contact Stacey (209-304-0868) or Katie (209-470-4260) to register or for more information.
Food Bank Donations
Food gifts for February totaled 85 pounds.
The total for 2019 is 211 pounds of food collected in the food cart.
Thank you for your generous support of this ministry.
Trinity Singers Rehearsals
All are invited to join the Trinity Singers/Worship Team! Rehearsals are Wednesdays at 5pm. Bring your voices, your instruments, and a heart for worship and praise! For more information, please contact Deena Holland at 209-296-6616 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following members of our church family are celebrating birthdays in March!
16th- Roger Simpson
17th- Gerry Moore
19th- Donna Matson
21st- Victoria Davis
27th- Julie Lemos
30th- Lyle Eidsmoe & Lou Narito
If you are celebrating a birthday in March, but you don't see your name listed here, please contact our Parish Administrative Asst.
Would You Like to Contribute to the Newsletter?
If you have an article of interest to the congregation that you would like included in the newsletter, please email it to the office, email@example.com by the 20th of the month. It will be included in the next month's newsletter.
Trinity Episcopal Church, 430 N Hwy 49, Sutter Creek, CA 95685